Visit with Mom & Dad... ROAD TRIP TO NAVALA                            

May 22, 2005
We decided to rent a 4x4 and tour inland to visit the village of Navala. We began our journey following  the Kings Highway to Ba, where we turned inland and followed an unsealed road through the rugged grassy mountainous interior of Vita Levu. The scenery was beautiful with the sugarcane fields highlighting the rolling countryside. The road was rough and the area isolated except for a scattering of bures along the road. We crossed several rickety bridges as the landscape became increasingly more lush the higher the altitude.


The sugarcane was as "high as an elephant's eye" and still dominates the country. Small cane trains crisscross the roads, taking sugar cane north to the mill in Lautoka. Sugarcane harvesting was due to begin the week after we made our visit to Navala.






In Search of a Waterfall...
We could not resist turning off the main road at a sign that read "Waterfall Road," as our sense of adventure always draws us to any prospect of finding a waterfall. The road cut along the side of some grassy slopes affording some wonderful views but it was soon evident that the quality of the road was quickly deteriorating.

Soon it was no more than a goat trail. However, anxious to find the allusive waterfall, we persevered.

After finally traversing the only water we came across, a trickle of a creek, we were finally ready to admit that there was no waterfall. We later found out that "Waterfall" was the name of the Indian settlement that we were traveling through!

We turned around to head back to the main road. Along the way we stopped for lunch and it was good to take a brake from being bounced around the truck. We stretched our legs and Mom & Dad posed under a banana tree.

                               A charming, isolated village...
Eventually we reached a beautiful and orderly little village with a population of 800, set seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Fiji society is male-dominated with a hereditary chief system still firmly in place. Protocol necessitated that we seek permission from the chief to visit the village and were soon given directions by a local walking by.

Presenting the Kava...
We were immediately invited into a bure, where we sat in a circle cross legged. The bure had a sparse interior with limited furnishings but was obviously someone's home.
We presented our Kava. The chief was unavailable so the caretaker started to perform the ceremony.
First the kava was blessed. Everything was said in Fijian. The bundle of kava was twirled and handled, lots of Bulas! and clapping of hands. The chief arrived and joined in. We all just clapped our hands when everyone else did because we were not sure what else to do. A young boy (in training to become the next chief?) seemed to know the routine, although I'm sure he was too young to drink Kava. Luckily we were given the opportunity to decline the sevusevu (drinking of kava) .....this time!

We left the bure with a village woman who said she would be our guide. The charge to visit the village was $15 each and the charge for her would be $5 each! We were very surprised that we would have to pay but soon realized that this was the village's only source of income and the whole villagers really made an effort to befriend us and make us feel welcomed.
First we were shown how they pound the kava, which looks like really hard work.
The village comprised of dozens of traditional thatched bure laid out neatly to form a cross. We were astonished to learn that the 'outhouses' had flush toilets.
A Photographers Haven...
The villagers were a friendly and accommodating with poses for photos. The children were just getting out of school and got a real kick out of seeing the photos we took of them on the digital camera.

The children definitely outnumbered the adults in the village and everywhere you got a sense of the close knit family oriented community that Navala is.


In keeping with the traditional nature of the village, we passed a worker using the old fashioned way to plow his fields A beautiful sunset behind a sprawling raintree beside the road back to Lautoka was the perfect ending to a great day!
click here to see all the PHOTOS of the Road Trip to Navala.

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Around Lautoka (Vuda Point)


Road Trip to Suva

Musket Cove Sail